Minneapolis, MN, October 17, 2005 – A recently graduated PhD student at Capella University has developed a unique program that assists ethnically diverse and disadvantaged high school students transition into college nursing programs and eventually receive licensure as registered nurses.

The program is called Pathways Into Nursing, an initiative of Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida . Diane Reed, a retention specialist at Valencia and a PhD student in Capella University's School of Business, developed the program with Dr. Linda Speranza in 2001. The mission of Pathways Into Nursing is to address the nursing shortage by helping disadvantaged students and students of color, particularly those who are Hispanic, become nurses. The students receive personal and academic counseling and individualized instruction in areas where they are having difficulty, and work with peer tutors and mentors. The program typically begins working with students when they are in 10th grade, supporting and mentoring them during high school and on through community college, culminating in an associate in science degree in nursing and RN licensure.

Students in the Pathways Into Nursing program also receive:

  • Opportunity to take college-level courses while in high school
  • Private tutors to assist in improving high school math, science, English, and reading skills for passing scores on the College Placement Test (CPT) and Nursing Entrance Test (NET)
  • Patient contact while in high school through medically related externships

To date, 130 students from three high schools in Central Florida with significant Hispanic student populations (Gateway High School, Osceola High School and Cypress Creek High School) have been admitted into the Pathways Into Nursing program, with 80 of those students in pre-nursing or nursing courses. The Pathways Into Nursing program was made possible by a federal grant of $678,105 to increase Hispanic opportunities in nursing.

"The program has opened the doors for many talented high school students, while offering a viable solution to the nation's nursing shortage. With the shortage of nurses, we need everyone who is interested in becoming a registered nurse as early as we can get them," Reed explains.

Reed says her experience pursuing an online degree at Capella University provided the freedom and flexibility she needed to craft an educational experience that would benefit her work with the Pathways Into Nursing program. Her PhD is in organization and management.

"Capella allowed me to have a tremendous amount of freedom. It was almost overwhelming the different avenues you could take. That's what I needed and that's what I got," she says.

For more information on the Pathways into Nursing program, please visit http://valenciacc.edu/pathways/default.asp.

About Capella University
Founded in 1993, Capella University is an accredited * online university that offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services and psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Science online degree program with 10 specializations in business and information technology. The online university currently serves more than 13,000 enrolled learners from all 50 states and 55 countries. Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis . For more information, visit www.capella.edu or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, located at 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, (312) 263-0456, www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org.